Wed, 05 Mar 2003

Utut assured slot in world championship

Musthofid, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

Grand Master (GM) Utut Adianto of Indonesia chalked up a double accomplishment from his participation at the Asian Championship in Doha which ended over the weekend.

Not only has he managed to improve his current rating of 2562 by 7.8 points, but he also earned a ticket to the 2003 World Championship which was assured after his top-10 finish.

The nine-round Doha chess meet, which lasted from Feb. 22 to March 3, featured 54 players from 21 Asian countries. Twenty of the participants were grand masters.

Utut, who stopped over in Doha straight from his appearance at the Aeroflot Open in Moscow, could only draw in his last two games, with GM Dao Thien Hai of Vietnam in the eighth round and with GM Ghaem Maghami Ehsan of Iran in the ninth round.

He drew in six games and won three times to take fifth place with an overall six points in the final standings. He also earned a US$4,000 of the total US$64,000 provided by the organizers.

GM Krishnan Sashikiran of India, who has an elo-rating of 2664, came out as the winner with seven points. Top ten finishers qualify for the World Championship scheduled tentatively in Netherlands in December.

The next world event will see a comeback for the Indonesian grand master after last year's absence following his failure in the qualifications in India and Vietnam.

"It's a tough competition in Doha. I'm glad that I got through and will now return to the world competition," Utut, whose Moscow run also earned him an additional three points on his rating, said while watching the Anniswati Memorial Cup matches here on Tuesday.

The Indonesian Chess Association (Percasi) hailed Utut's feat as a successful overseas tour.

"This is a promising start of the year by Utut and should give him great prospects to again become one of the world's top players. He not only enhances his rating but also earned a spot in the World Championship, which he missed out on last year," Eka Putra Wirya, the Percasi executive chairman, said.

Eka said that they would be seeking more Indonesian entries at the world championship through a regional competition scheduled to be held in Vietnam in April.

"Cerdas Barus and Susanto Megaranto will be our likely options for the Vietnam event, which will provide two slots for the world event," Eka said.

Cerdas is the 2002 Olympic gold medalist while 16-year-old Susanto has just been guaranteed an International Master (IM) title after his victorious performance at the Gunadarma elo- rating chess tournament.